Cyst fluid from human autosomal dominant polycystic kidneys promotes cyst formation and expansion by renal epithelial cells in vitro

M. Ye, M. Grant, M. Sharma, L. Elzinga, S. Swan, V. E. Torres, J. J. Grantham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is characterized by progressive renal enlargement, culminating in renal insufficiency in over one half of affected individuals. The highly variable onset and clinical course of ADPKD may be due to factors extrinsic to the genetically defined renal cysts. In this study, cyst fluid samples from 12 nonazotemic and 18 azotemic ADPKD subjects were examined for in vitro biologic activity that promotes cellular proliferation and the secretion of fluid by renal epithelial monolayers, two pathogenetic mechanisms that have critical roles in the formation and the rate of expansion of renal cysts. Cyst fluid added to culture medium (final concentrations, 1 to 20%) caused Madin-Darby canine kidney cells and human kidney cortex (HKC) cells derived from primary cultures to form cysts in Type I collagen matrix. Cyst fluid stimulated the net transepithelial secretion of fluid by polarized monolayers composed of these same cells. Absolute levels of fluid secretory activity determined by MDCK bioassay were correlated directly with the rate of fluid secretion by HKC cell monolayers and with the extent of cyst formation by MDCK and HKC cells embedded in collagen matrix The secretory activity of urine was negligible; secretory activity was detectable in the serum of normal and ADPKD subjects, but the levels were much lower than in cyst fluid. cAMP agonists prostaglandins E1 and E2, arginine vasopressin, and 8-Br-cAMP stimulated fluid secretion by MDCK and HKC monolayers, but these substances did not cause HKC cells to form cysts in collagen matrix, whereas cyst fluid did. Among other naturally occurring growth factors and autacoids, only epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor alpha stimulated cyst formation by HKC cells; however, the capacity of cyst fluid to stimulate fluid secretion was not affected by treatment with antiserum to epidermal growth factor. It was concluded that potent, and possibly unique, substances in the cyst fluids of individuals with ADPKD support and augment biologic processes in renal epithelial cells that may be important in the promotion of progressive cyst expansion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)984-994
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1992


  • Cystic
  • Cysts
  • Fluid secretion
  • Hyperplasia
  • Kidney
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Renal
  • Renal insufficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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